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Families mourn 1945 Battle of Okinawa victims during pre-anniversary event

Searchlights are turned on as "the pillar of the light of peace" at Peace Memorial Park in Itoman, Okinawa Prefecture, on June 22, 2017, to commemorate those who died in the 1945 Battle of Okinawa. (Mainichi)

ITOMAN, Okinawa -- An event to commemorate those who died in the 1945 Battle of Okinawa was held here on the night of June 22, the eve of the 72nd anniversary of the end of the fierce ground battle.

Some 400 people, including families of the war dead, participated in the event at the Okinawa Peace Hall in the Mabuni district of Itoman. A moment of silence was held as two members from bereaved families ignited a fire in a brazier. Candles were lit to spell "peace" in Japanese, and searchlights were turned on as "pillars of the light of peace."

Issei Nomura, chairman of the Okinawa Foundation which organized the event, said in an address, "The pain of those who experienced war will never heal."

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